Winners and losers from GOP platform, rules meetings

Winners and losers from GOP platform, rules meetings
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CLEVELAND — Republicans have put the final touches on the platform and rules that will govern the party as they prepare to nominate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE for president at the GOP convention that kicks off on Monday. 

Here are the winners and losers from a wild week in Cleveland: 

 

WINNERS 

Donald Trump 

It’s Donald Trump’s Republican Party now. 

The presumptive nominee’s fingerprints are all over the party’s platform. 

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Trump’s positions on immigration and trade — the cornerstones of his insurgent campaign — have officially been codified into the GOP’s guiding policy document.

Republicans crafting the party’s platform stated their support for a wall that spans the length of the U.S.-Mexico border and struck the only reference to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

It became evident as the week unfolded that nearly the entirety of the GOP establishment is fully on board with Trump. It was difficult to find anyone on the 168-member Republican National Committee who would so much as criticize the bombastic billionaire. 

Rather, committeemen and women asserted their influence on the Rules and Platform committees to crush Trump’s shrinking group of rivals. 

Trump can thank RNC Chairman Reince Priebus for that. 

Priebus went all in for Trump from an early date and the committee members from every state and territory who run the national party have followed suit. 

The Republican National Committee 

The RNC deftly beat back challenges from a handful of rogue delegates over the course of a marathon 16-hour Rules Committee hearing on Thursday. 

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Rules Committee member and close ally of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGroup aiming to draft Beto O’Rourke unveils first 2020 video Howard Dean looking for a 'younger, newer' Democratic nominee in 2020 Congress can stop the war on science MORE (R-Texas), arrived in Cleveland with a bevy of proposals aimed at stripping the RNC of its power over the presidential nominating process. 

The amendments from Cuccinelli and his allies began flooding in as soon as the Rules Committee convened. 

Suddenly, the RNC-appointed chairwoman, Utah delegate Enid Mickelsen, called for an emergency recess. 

The printer had broken and needed to be fixed, she explained. 

That, of course, was a ruse. 

The break was called so that Priebus and top RNC officials could convene a private meeting to negotiate with Cuccinelli and his supporters in an attempt to avoid a series of potentially embarrassing votes. 

Those backroom dealings were still not done when the Rules Committee reconvened in the afternoon. 

Mickelsen deliberately slow-walked the proceedings through a dreary afternoon to give them time to complete the negotiations. 

The RNC ultimately blew up the talks, confident it had the upper hand on a committee it had stocked with party loyalists. 

In the end, all of the amendments aimed at weakening Priebus and the national party’s power structure failed spectacularly. 

Cuccinelli fumed to reporters afterwards that he had come to an agreement with the RNC on a deal and that party leaders had reneged. 

The RNC let the Rules Committee do its talking. 

Social conservatives 

The long-term societal trends may be moving against the socially conservative wing of the party, but the Christian right maintained a firm grip on the party’s platform for at least one more cycle. 

Led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the socially conservative wing easily beat back a spirited challenge from allies of GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, who sought to soften the party’s stance on gay marriage. 

The GOP platform will oppose gay marriage and in every instance will declare the benefits of traditional family arrangements. 

The Perkins wing won new concessions too, labeling pornography as a “public health crisis” and weaving in language that says parents should be able to pursue the widely condemned “conversion therapy” for their gay children. 

 

LOSERS 

Ted Cruz 

The second-place finisher in the GOP primaries wasn’t in Cleveland for the gathering, but he had a strong contingent of supporters eager to position him for a 2020 run.

Cuccinelli’s main goal was to close the primaries to independents and Democrats — a move that could have bolstered Cruz’s prospects for the next go-around.

Cruz allies believe Trump’s win can be attributed in part to independents and Democrats backing him. Cruz’s support, they say, came from traditional conservatives.

Cuccinelli says he struck a deal with the RNC to incentivize states to only allow Republicans to vote in the primaries. The party backed out at the last minute, he said. 

It’s possible the RNC was looking to avoid headlines about a big win for Cruz heading into the convention. 

A rule to increase the number of delegates from congressional districts held by Republicans also failed. And the GOP punted on changes to the primary calendar, which also was believed to have benefited Trump more than Cruz in 2016. 

Never Trump 

The strength of the “Never Trump” movement appears to have been vastly overestimated. 

No one expected a proposal to pass the Rules Committee that would unbind delegates from the results of the caucuses and primaries so they could revolt against Trump on the convention floor. 

But it attracted such little support — only about a dozen or so on the 112-member panel — that it now appears the group will fail to meet the low threshold of 28 signatures on the proposal so that it gets an up or down vote on the floor of the convention Monday. 

The “Free the Delegates” movement looks dead. 

They will instigate skirmishes on the floor of the convention next week. But the RNC and the Trump campaign appear organized enough to quickly snuff those out. 

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back MORE (R-Utah) 

Lee, a Cruz ally and the highest ranking elected official on the Rules Committee, lost every battle he waded into. 

He first stood to speak on behalf of a rule that would strip the RNC of power to make changes to the primary process in between conventions. The proposal went down hard. 

Then late Thursday night Lee suddenly threw his weight behind the “Free the Delegates” movement — even after it became clear their efforts would go down in flames. 

It was a puzzling move that came in the dark of night at too late a stage to make a difference. 

Texas RNC committeeman Steve Munisteri rebuked Lee and called into question his grassroots bona fides. 

The Utah senator is now one of the faces of the fading “Never Trump” movement.